Kela being treated with caution and care

Kela being treated with caution and care

ARLINGTON --- Rangers manager Jeff Banister acknowledged on Saturday that he has had to be careful how he's used reliever Keone Kela because of Kela's tender right elbow.

Kela is coming to the end of an outstanding first season in the Major Leagues, but his 60 innings (plus two more during a 10-day August hiatus at Double-A Frisco) are a career high. His 67 appearances are tied for 17th most in the American League, and his elbow was a concern through September.

Kela's availability has been a day-to-day proposition; he was not available on Friday night in a 2-1 loss to the Angels.

"It depends on Kela, it always has been that way," Banister said. "We check on him and how he feels. There are days that he is available and days that he's not. This is a young man who has thrown a lot this year, more than ever before. We'll continue to monitor it and do what's best for Kela and the ballclub. There have been some challenge days for Kela."

Despite the elbow, Kela has been terrific since returning from Frisco on Aug. 11. He has not allowed a run over 16 1/3 innings and 18 appearances, allowing seven hits and four walks while striking out 21.

Napoli experiment may be over: The Rangers may be done using Mike Napoli in left field now that Josh Hamilton is healthy again. With left-hander Hector Santiago pitching for the Angels on Saturday, Hamilton started in left, Napoli was at first and Mitch Moreland was on the bench.

"Right now it's how Josh is moving around and playing," Banister said. "The reason why Mike was out there was because Josh couldn't go out there."

After having never played left field in his career, Napoli started there 11 times last month while Hamilton was recovering from surgery on his left knee. Hamilton has started in five of the last eight games in left.

Worth noting
Shin-Soo Choo's home run on Friday night was his 22nd, matching a career high set in 2010 with the Indians.

Delino DeShields stole his 25th base on Friday. He is the seventh Rangers rookie in club history to reach that number.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.